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Old 12-09-2010, 09:59 AM   #1
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How long to change an axle

I have me new Henschen axles on hand, and the temps are supposed to reach the upper 50's Saturday. The plan is to change out the old for the new and I am trying to plan out the day.

For those who have changed an axles(s) before, how long does the job take? I have three to do and am hoping to complete the task in a single day.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:07 AM   #2
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Should be able to do it in that time frame, IF the bolts are not rusted too bad. An air impact gun and ratchet will speed things up quite a bit. Got a "Flame Wrench", just in case?

I did mine in 20 degree weather on a limestone driveway up in Ohio.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:15 AM   #3
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Over the next couple of days, shoot some penetrating oil on the mounting bolts. Stuck bolts would be about the only thing that could stop you in your tracks.

Of course, 6" of snow might stop you also.... (I'm in Ohio!)
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:52 AM   #4
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With everything in place, tools, ramps to drive 2 wheels (axles) onto, cardboard to lie on if outdoors, tow vehicle hitched I would say 2 hours an axle. BUT this ain't a perfect world so give yourself minimum 2 days maybe 3. A helping hand will cut that time dramatically. It took me 3 days for 2 axels but I have titanium hips and arthritis in all my other joints. Be sure that you have some cold ones for the completion celebration.

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Old 12-09-2010, 10:55 AM   #5
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If you have a floor jack consider making a beam out of a 2x8 to support the axle as you put it up into place. The problem is the fact that the trailing arms and brake drums want to cause the axle to rotate away from the axle beam if you are lifting with the beam. Finding the balance point, on a jack, to support the axles before you go under the trailer will save you a lot of time.

I used a motorcycle jack that allowed me to clamp the 2x8 to the lift plate and put 2 pieces of wood at the ends to support the spindles. This allowed me to lift the axles straight up into position. The jack also provided a roll around platform to easily move the axles under the trailer.

The front 2 axles are straight forward as you can get to them with an impact wrench. The rear axle will require 2 combination wrenches and maybe a pipe as a helper to brake the bolts free. The bolts are blocked by one of the tanks.

It took 2 of us less than an hour to set the axles. The electrical work on the brakes took me, working alone about the same.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:20 AM   #6
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I have me new Henschen axles on hand, and the temps are supposed to reach the upper 50's Saturday. The plan is to change out the old for the new and I am trying to plan out the day.

For those who have changed an axles(s) before, how long does the job take? I have three to do and am hoping to complete the task in a single day.
Craig.

With a helper, it will take almost a day, to change the axles, shocks, complete the wiring and to install the Centramatics.

That includes a lunch and a cool one, or hot one, twice.

Andy
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:34 AM   #7
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Took me and my pop about 8 hrs to do two axles. First one was the learning curve - then it went more quickly. Needed a sledge hammer to *gently encourage* the axle to drop out of place after all the bolts were out.

Finished in the dark, using flashlight to complete the wiring. Should have skipped the 2 hr lunch & beverage.

Laura
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:39 AM   #8
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Took me and my pop about 8 hrs to do two axles. First one was the learning curve - then it went more quickly. Needed a sledge hammer to *gently encourage* the axle to drop out of place after all the bolts were out.

Finished in the dark, using flashlight to complete the wiring. Should have skipped the 2 hr lunch & beverage.

Laura
Laura.

You practice the old motto everyday at the space center.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing it right, the first time.

Mistakes are not an option.

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Old 12-09-2010, 01:01 PM   #9
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I changed out 2 axles in about 3 hrs. Now to qualify ,My neighbor helped me. He had the asphalt driveway. With tv hooked up,pulled the front axle up on 2x8's. Popped the wheels off. We had wheeldollys from Harbor Freight,the non-hydralic kind,a floor jack to let the axles down. Then it poured down rain. It stopped in a bit and we continued. Buzzed out the bolts (with only a shot of PB BLASTER) wiff the impact, (1/2 drive) with several phone interuptions both his and mine,we rolled it off the planks in about 3 hrs.
I think the hardest part what gettin them old buggers to slid off the frame. I think the frame moved in some cause we had to persuade the new ones to go into place also.
ALL in ALL PIECE O CAKE . Just like Andy told me on da phone.
I'd do it again ,I kinda enjoyed it.
Roger
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:56 PM   #10
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HowieE is correct about the axles rotating in the cradle. I found that the best way was with 2 floor jacks and a helper. When you get them into position, just rotate them a little to line up the slot in the frame with the axle and raise them up evenly from both sides. I did the first axle with one jack and the 2nd one using the two jack method (much easier). A few short pieces of 4x4 will come in hand too. Also have your electrical tools, soldier, heat shrink, etc. handy to attach the brake wires to the new axles. Penetrating oil on all the bolts will make a huge difference. If you don't have air and an impact wrench have 1/2 drive with a long pull handle.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:44 PM   #11
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I changed both axles in my '79 Soveriegn in April. It took me about 12 hours total. A good amount of the time was spent on changing the brake backing plates and bearings. I just bought the bare axles since the brakes, magnets and bearings were all in good condition. 1/2 of the bolts had to be removed without the use of an impact gun, acsess blocked by belly tank and swing arm. I used 2 mechanics creepers to roll the axles into place and then lifted them with a pair of sizzor jacks. It when smoothly. Make sure to solder the electric brake wiring and use shrink tubing on the splice, mine originally had wire nuts to mahe the splice. Good luck.
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:57 PM   #12
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I am happy to help anyone within 500 miles of Austin, TX to do this, if they will just cover the cost of gas, and overnight accommodation if needed. I would bring all tools needed.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:29 PM   #13
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I changed the axle on a 63 Bambi today. 2 1/2 hrs and will hook up the brake wires tomorrow and it's finished. They get faster the more you do. This was number 11 for this year.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:31 PM   #14
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I did the axles by myself in just a few hours; having a floor jack & air tools made it pretty simple. Getting the new hydraulic disc brakes set up took far longer, what with installing the tubing, disc controller, & bleeding the system several times, road testing, etc.

- Bart
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